Running water still a pipe dream in villages

by Sujit Bijoy, originally posted on April 27, 2016


Bhubaneswar: Easy access to drinking water is still a dream for rural areas of the state. Only 2.5% rural households have access to piped drinking water on an average.

The state government, which has been in power since March 2000, has ensured piped water supply to only 2,03,776 rural households out of a total of 81,55,383 rural households in Odisha.

“We will supply piped water to the remaining 79,51,706 rural households by 2025,” rural development minister Badri Narayan Patra informed the assembly in a written reply.

The state government has failed to ensure availability of drinking water to even one per cent rural households in five districts, namely Angul (0.99%),Balangir (0.92%), Boudh (0.23%), Bhadrak (0.25%) and Puri (0.72%).

According to the reply, Deogarh district fares best by providing piped drinking water to 6.15% rural households, followed by Kandhamal (5.74% households). In Ganjam district, which is represented by chief minister Naveen Patnaik and three other senior ministers, only 3.51% households have access to piped water supply.

The tribal districts also fared poorly with the percentage of rural households getting piped water being 1.17% in Gajapati, 2.95% in Kalahandi, 1.39% inKeonjhar, 1.91% in Koraput, 2.6% in Malkangiri, 3.71% in Mayurbhanj, 1.39% in Nabarangapur, 1.54% in Rayagada and 1.13% in Sundargarh.

The minister’s reply assumes significance as people in a number of places are facing acute shortage of drinking water. In some areas, locals are being forced to walk three to five kilometers in the scorching heat to fetch water.

In a separate reply, the minister said the state government has deployed 451 tankers in 27 districts to tackle the drinking water problem in rural areas. “We are supplying 4,000 litres of water on tankers to dry areas daily,” he added.

Against a target of 2,000 tube wells by September, the state government has so far dug 643 tube wells. There are altogether 4,19,364 tube wells in the rural areas of the state, official sources said.

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